Luxury vacations in Central America have become more popular, especially in destinations known world-wide for their lovely and natural flora and fauna such as Costa Rica. However, even smaller and lesser visited countries such as Panama and Nicaragua are becoming increasingly popular as tourist destinations. The vast majority of five-star Panama hotels are found in Panama City, located on the Pacific coast beside the canal. Today, the beautiful natural backdrops of many of the Central American countries welcome visitors with lush jungles, amazing beaches, and a range of fun activities and things to do on tropical luxury vacations.
The greatest percentage of luxury Central America travel occurs in Costa Rica, which receives more visitors and has experienced longer periods of peace and economic stability than any of its neighbors. In addition to these two factors, the country has been internationally recognized for its aggressive protection of its fragile ecosystems and natural resources. It was a worldwide pioneer in ecotourism, and luxury vacations in Central America here take advantage of some of the most sophisticated five-star eco resorts to be found anywhere in the world. Many travelers from the United States have come here for a luxury Central American vacation and become so enchanted with the country that it has become one of the newest spots for American retirement homes. Ten years ago, real estate in Costa Rica was cheap. Today, prices are approaching the cost of buying retirement property in Florida, and you will find numerous retirement communities with condos and villas, making this an excellent destination for luxury beach vacations.
Luxury Central America travel is also possible by boat, as numerous international cruise lines offer cruises that stop at ports here. A number of the cruise lines utilize luxurious smaller ship with capacities of only 60 to 150 passengers. Many of the cruises transit the Panama Canal, but Costa Rica remains the most popular destination for ships, with port stops and excursions to Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano, and other attractions.
Today, a luxury Central American vacation is even possible in tiny El Salvador, which is known primarily for its excellent Pacific Ocean surfing. Another up-and-coming destination for a luxury Central American vacation is Nicaragua, which has the advantages of many attractions combined with few tourists. Its beautiful beaches rival those of more popular destinations, but remain largely unspoiled and uncrowded. While the only true five-star hotel (the InterContinental Real Metrocentro) will be found in Managua, you can find deluxe resorts on several beaches, especially Montelimar.
Luxury Central America travel is also relatively new in Honduras and Belize. For five-star accommodations in Honduras, you will find more InterContinental properties here, including the Real San Pedro Sula and the Real Tegucigalpa, but there are some good beach and diving resorts on the beaches. Belize is fast becoming known for its intimate eco lodges. Perhaps the best known is the Blancaneaux Lodge, purchased by film director Francis Ford Coppola as a family vacation retreat in the 1980s. Today, it is an exclusive hideaway with only a few beautiful villas and cabanas, including the sumptuous villa that once housed the Coppola family. Set on a river in 70 lush rainforest acres near San Ignacio, luxury vacations in Central America at this delightful retreat offer true paradise.